Posts Tagged ‘Tex-Mex’

Edamame, Black Bean & Roasted Red Pepper Salad

Thursday, April 15th, 2010
Edamame, black beans, roasted red peppers, corn, cilantro salad

Edamame, Black Bean & Roasted Red Pepper Salad

I look at eating my Super Salad as my little nutritional insurance policy. It makes me feel like even if I ate nothing but pop tarts the rest of the day, at least I got a few servings of vegetables and nuts.  Because of this, we have some sort of salad with every dinner.  And a salad with every dinner equals salad burn out

If you too get salad burn out, try this one…my Edamame, Black Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Salad.  It is easy to make, and very tasty. You could even eat it like a salsa on tortilla chips.  Very healthy, very tasty, and very flexible.  You can tweak the recipe to fit your likes and dislikes.  Add more edamame, omit the green onion…any way, it will be yummy.

Edamame, Black Bean and Roasted Red Pepper Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups edamame, shelled and cooked to the package directions
  • Small can of black beans, drained
  • Small can of corn, you could also use frozen corn about 1 cup
  • Small jar of roasted red peppers, drained and chopped.
  • 3 green onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon heart healty oil – canola works well (you can substitute this with Italian dressing for a little extra flavor – I like Good Seasons Mild Italian)
  • Small bunch of cilantro chopped
  • 1/2 cup cubed feta cheese (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Simply combine all of the ingredients and then season to taste.  Let the flavors come together by letting it sit for about an hour.  You can add more or less of the cayenne depending on how spicy you like it.

Shredded Chicken Tacos

Monday, August 17th, 2009
Shredded Chicken Tacos

Shredded Chicken Tacos

After an entire weekend of cooking and sampling recipes for the blog, I realized something – good recipes are hard to find.   It is difficult to find recipes that are not only nutritious, but that are also tasty and easy… recipes you won’t get bored with. 

I like simple flavors; I like rustic cooking; I like spicy; I like southwestern flavors; I like the combination of sweet and salty; but something I don’t like much…olives.  This is why the perfectly pretty and dainty tomato basil tartlets with olive tapenade didn’t make the cut.   I honestly couldn’t tell if I liked them or not.   I just couldn’t get around that overpowering olive flavor.  If I would have only gone with my gut and replaced the olive tapenade with a rich tomato sauce – you would be reading a different post.  But anyways, I digress…

Finally after a weekend of hot pans, mountains of dirty dishes and a load of unsatisfying cooking I made a real winner – shredded chicken tacos. Not your traditional ground beef hard shell tacos, but rather a shredded chicken taco with gooey Chihuahua cheese.  Mix in some crisp lettuce, diced tomato, fresh cilantro and a bit of Siracha and you are set. This is a recipe that is nutritious – it is tasty – it is easy.  It is all of those things and more.  Hold onto this one – you may end up using it often. 

Shredded Chicken for Chicken Tacos

Yield: 6 to 8 servings 
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 4 dried chili peppers
  • ¾ cup of your favorite beer
  • Salt and pepper to taste

1.    Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot or saucepan and add water to cover. Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil. Partially cover and adjust heat so mixture simmers steadily. Skim any foam that comes to the surface. Cook until meat is very tender, about 40 minutes. Remove the chicken from the liquid and set aside to cool.

2.    Strain the solids from the simmering liquid and return to the heat.  Let simmer until slightly reduced.  Turn off heat and let cool. 

3.    While your simmering liquid is cooling, shred your chicken thighs.  Do so by pulling the pieces of chicken apart by hand – this seems to be the easiest and most effective way.

4.    Once your simmering liquid is cooled, add about ½ cup of it back into the shredded chicken and toss.  Your chicken is now ready; you can now assemble your shredded chicken tacos.

Shredded chicken thighs

Shredded chicken thighs

Shredded Chicken Taco Assembly

What You Will Need:

  • Flour or corn tortillas, 6 inch in diameter
  • Cheese, shredded –  I like Chihuahua cheese for this recipe
  • Lettuce, shredded
  • Tomato, seeded and diced
  • Cilantro, the leaves removed from the stems
  • Sour cream
  • Siracha, or your favorite hot sauce
Chihuahua cheese for chicken tacos...delicious

Chihuahua cheese for chicken tacos...delicious

Directions:

1.)   Wrap your tortillas in foil and place them in an oven at 350 Degrees to soften for 5-7 minutes. 

2.)   Lay your softened tortilla down on a plate, add your shredded chicken and top with your favorite toppings.  Be sure to add hot sauce.   

3.)   Eat and repeat.

Ingredients:

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009
Quinoa Salad with Black Beans

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans

I am currently in South America – Buenos Aires to be more precise.  So far, I am pleasantly surprised.  The people are warm and inviting; the food has been amazing; our hotel is surrounded by small shops, markets and trendy restaurants.  More details on my trip, the food and everything else that goes along with the travel experience to follow in a later post. The point of this post is to discuss cooking with the ancient “grain” quinoa, from South America, and it just so happens I am in South America.  There…I have made the connection.  On we go.

I discovered quinoa (pronounced Keen – wah) a few years back while looking for a vegetarian filling for stuffed peppers that was more nutritious than rice. For most, quinoa is known as a type of grain, not entirely true though.  If you want to get techinical, quinoa is actually a seed; it is referred to as a grain because of its cooking characteristics. 

Quinoa has a very delicate flavor and a lovely texture.  People have said it is similar to couscous – I disagree.  The texture is soft, yet there is slight bite from the spiral tail of the quinoa.  Spiral tail?  Yes, as quinoa cooks the outer germ around each grain twists to form a white spiral tail.  This tail is what gives it a pleasant bite or crunch.  The texture combination is why I love quinoa – it is heartier, more nourishing than other grains.  And thanks to its recent exposure in cooking magazines and shows, you can easily find quinoa at most supermarkets and at natural foods stores. 

Quinoa - Close Up

Quinoa - Close Up

Quinoa is high in fiber, calcium and iron, low in fat and is very easy to digest.  Compared to other grains, quinoa is the highest in complete protein which makes it an ideal ingredient for vegetarians.  Quinoa is so nutritious in fact, that it was used to sustain Incan armies who would march for several days on a simple mixture of quinoa and fat, or “war balls” as they called them.  As I stated previously, quinoa is an ancient grain; records show that quinoa has been cultivated in the South American Andes since around 3000 BC.  Quinoa has only been grown outside of South America for a relatively short period of time.  In the US, most quinoa comes out of Colorado.

So, how do you cook this stuff?  I cook my quinoa in a saucepan, a 2:1 ratio of liquid to quinoa.   For the liquid, I usually substitute stock for water as the grains absorb so much of the flavor.   Rinse your quinoa before cooking to remove any leftover residue.  I bring my stock up to a boil, add the quinoa and reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover.  I usually let it sit for about 10-15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.   Then I fluff with a fork and set aside.  Don’t worry too much if there is a bit of excess water on the grains – it tends to evaporate as it sits.  If you feel compelled, you can always drain in a wire strainer.  I suggest reading the instructions on your box as each variety of quinoa cooks differently.  Trial and error works best when cooking quinoa. 

Uncooked Quinoa and Vegetable Stock

Uncooked Quinoa and Vegetable Stock

Quinoa can be used in hot and cold salads and casseroles, or you can add quinoa to soups and stews for more substance.  This recipe is adapted from a recipe I found on EpicuriousQuinoa with Black Beans and Cilantro.  I used roasted red peppers and ancho chili powder for an even richer, smokier “southwest” flavor.  The fresh cilantro adds a bright flavor to the recipe, you notice it immediately – it screams “fresh”.   

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans
Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 jar of roasted red peppers, drained and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, drained
  • 3 teaspoons ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • Feta cheese, cut into small cubes

Directions:

1.) Prepare your quinoa to the package directions. Rinse before cooking.  Once cooked, drain and set aside to cool.

2.) Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and sauté until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

3.) Stir in the roasted red peppers, ancho chili powder and cumin and salt.

4.) Remove the mixture from heat, place in a large bowl and let stand to cool.

5.) Once your onion mixture is cool, add the black beans, ¼ cup of the cilantro and quinoa.

6.) Just prior to serving sprinkle in the remaining ¼ cup of cilantro and feta cheese. This dish is served at room temperature.  Taste again, season with salt and pepper as needed.

The Best Guacamole…seriously

Saturday, June 6th, 2009
 
 
 
 
 

 

Our Favorite Guacamole

Our Favorite Guacamole

I’m nervous – confused – my palms are sweaty.  Ok, maybe my palms aren’t sweaty, but I am still asking myself  ”are you sure you want to do this?”

(time lapse 10 minutes ahead)

Alright fine – I will share (give up) one of my best recipes.  It’s not like I am the only person in the world that makes good guacamole.  It just so happens that I think mine is the best. 

What’s my secret?  Perhaps it’s the red onion, or the mayonnaise or maybe the salt?  People always say that red onion has a mild, sweet flavor – I think it has a strong flavor – which adds something special to this guacamole.   The salt you use is also very important.  I love experimenting with different salts in my guacamole – salt compliments avocados so well.  To add a bit of creaminess to the guacamole I use the mayonnaise.  Sounds odd, but works so well.

This recipe will serve two or three people who really love guacamole.  Adjust accordingly to how much you will need. 

guacamole-ingredients

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
  • ½ of a lime, juiced
  • 1 roma tomato, seeded and diced
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced
  • 1/8 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/8 cilantro, chopped
  • good pinch of your favorite salt – I like fleur de sel in this recipe.
  • dash of Tabasco

Directions:

1.) Prep your ingredients before cutting into your avocado. The avocado can go brown very quickly without the help of the lime.

2.) Once you are prepped – place the avocado, lime juice, tomato, red onion, mayonnaise, salt and Tabasco in a large bowl.

3.) Using the back of a fork, mash all of the ingredients together until you get the consistency that you prefer. Some people like smooth, others a bit chunky. Myself, I prefer a bit chunky.

4.) Finally, fold in the cilantro – trying not to bruise the leaves too much.|

5.) Place plastic wrap over the guacamole – so that is actually touching the surface of the guacamole and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. After the guacamole has sat for an hour – go ahead and eat!


google